Kegging my first beer this weekend, have some questions

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JLeather

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I have enough stuff to start kegging this weekend, except my new kitchen fridge delivery was delayed so I don't have my kegerator yet (I'm getting the old kitchen fridge for a kegerator). I do have CO2, kegs, a DIY keg washer, and a beer that needs to come out of the fermenter because I've already dry hopped it. I have two main questions now, more I'm sure later when I start building the kegerator. Question one is about sanitizing and purging. I see some people saying they fill the keg with StarSan and push it out with CO2 to purge the keg before filling. Even with a stock dip tube wouldn't that leave several ounces of StarSan in the bottom? I know it's "food safe" but I still don't want several ounces of it in my beer. Is it not ok to sanitize the keg and dump it via the lid and just burp the keg a few times after filling to evacuate the oxygen?

Second question is about storage. Let's assume I'll be another week or more getting the fridge ready. I would like to go ahead and properly force-carb the beer, which at the ~65°F in my basement would be about 25 psi of CO2 (APA, ~2.3 vols). I understand the beer itself will be fine at room temperature for several weeks under pressure, but when I put it in the fridge how do I keep the proper carbonation as it cools? Do I just set the regulator in the fridge to the new pressure (~13 psi) and it will sort itself out over a few days, or do I need to burp as it chills to let excess pressure out?
 

day_trippr

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I always do the Star San purge. All of my kegs have full length dip tubes with the ends properly located in the keg wells, and I can say there's barely a teaspoon of sanitizer left behind.

No other method is going to be as effective. Certainly not a procedure that involves opening the lid.

As for your keg, when you put the warm keg in the kegerator you will reduce the CO2 pressure to that which will maintain your ~2.3 volumes at the kegerator temperature. Most folks do release the head space pressure when dropping down to a lower pressure just to avoid any surprises at the taps, or having beer back up the gas line because the keg was overfilled....

Cheers!
 
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JLeather

JLeather

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I always do the Star San purge. All of my kegs have full length dip tubes with the ends properly located in the keg wells, and I can say there's barely a teaspoon of sanitizer left behind.

No other method is going to be as effective. Certainly not a procedure that involves opening the lid.
Thanks, I'll have to give it a shot ahead of time and open the lid just to see what's left. I'm spending a few evenings this week rebuilding the kegs with new o-rings and checking for leaks anyway. I suppose if it's full of StarSan I'll waste less gas doing leak checks.
 

LittleRiver

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In the future you may want to look into using fermentation gas to purge your keg. It works equally well or better than filling the keg with Starsan and purging with bottled CO2. I've done it both ways. I find fermentation gas purging to be simpler, easier, and very effective.

Also look into doing closed transfers. This protects the beer from oxygen during the transfer, which really does make a noticeable difference in the longevity of flavors and aromas. Some people use bottled C02 to power their transfers, but I use gravity (for the same reasons as above: it's simpler, easier, and very effective).
 
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JLeather

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That's the plan. This brew is in a bucket, so not really practical for any of the above, but I got three 10-gallon corny kegs in the keg stuff I picked up that I plan to start using for fermenters so I can purge with the fermenetation gas, cold crash, and closed transfers.
 

IslandLizard

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I'll have to give it a shot ahead of time and open the lid just to see what's left.
Opening the keg defies the whole pre-purge, letting air back in.
You've wasting that CO2, because you've got to do it all over again...

If the diptube sits on the bottom inside the little well, there's really no more than an ounce left. Maybe 2 in some extreme cases.

After pushing out as much as possible, I let the keg sit for 10-15 minutes for any clinging Starsan and foam to drip down. Then blow out whatever accumulated. I doubt there's more than an ounce left after that.

If you want to check, for peace of mind, put a quart of water or Starsan in your keg, push it out with some CO2 at say 10-12 psi, let stand for a few minutes and push more out. Then check how much is left. You've still wasted that CO2 but your mind is at ease. ;)

Alternatively, you could cut off the gas dip tube so it's flush or slightly receded inside the dome. The cut down gas diptube is also beneficial for filling the keg more completely with Starsan.

Then, after out pushing as much Starsan as possible, leave some pressure in it, remove gas QD, invert the keg so it's upside down, slightly tilted toward the gas post if you want, and let sit for a few (10-15) minutes. Then in the upside down position, using a nail set or small screwdriver, push in the gas post poppet to blow the remainder out.
 
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doug293cz

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Purging air filled headspace with bottled CO2 is fairly inefficient, and should only be done for small volume spaces. It takes way more pressurize and vent cycles to get O2 down to PPM levels than you would think. The following table and chart show residual headspace O2 vs. number of purge cycles for various purge pressures.

ppm O2 after purge table.png
ppm O2 after purge chart.png


Liquid purging or purging a keg with fermentation CO2 are more cost effective, and the fermentation purged keg results in the lowest O2 levels.

Brew on :mug:
 
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Why not keg condition this beer while you wait for your kegerator fridge?
Add about 3.75 oz of DME or sugar (dissolved in a cup of water,boiled 3-5 min, cooled, then add to keg) purge keg and transfer the beer. Seal keg with CO2 and let it sit at room temperature for 10 days or so.
When you have your kegerator set up chill the keg foe 36-48 hours and it should be ready to serve..
 

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Here is my 0.02 on this thread. I fill my kegs with Saniclean (just like SarSan but it doesn't foam up like StarSan does) and push it out with CO2. When I fill the kegs with sanitizer, I syphon it out of the storage container (I only mix new sanitizer about once a month or more frequently if the pH of it starts to rise) into the beer out keg plug to minimize splashing to minimize any O2 pickup. When my sanitizing cycle is complete, I push the Saniclean out of the keg either into a second keg that needs to be sanitized (I normally do 10 gallon batches) or back into the storage container. Once the keg is empty, I jiggle the keg to push out any remaining sanitizer on the bottom and get 99.9% of it out of the keg.

With regard to opening the keg after sanitizing it, I sometimes have to open the keg to fine the beer with gelatin if the residual yeast in suspension is being stubborn about dropping out at cold temperatures. When this is necessary, I simply attach the CO2 to the gas in plug and turn it on with maybe a couple PSI to keep a CO2 blanket on the beer while fining it. This will significantly reduce any O2 pickup as there will be a positive pressure of CO2 inside the keg. Is it 100% effective, no, but nothing is unless you place the keg in a total vacuum. So you do the best you can with what you have to work with.

Remember, regardless of how you do things, there will always be some O2 disolved in the sanitizer. It is inevitable so do your best to keep it as low as possible with your sanitizing and transferring techniques
 
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JLeather

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Why not keg condition this beer while you wait for your kegerator fridge?
Add about 3.75 oz of DME or sugar (dissolved in a cup of water,boiled 3-5 min, cooled, then add to keg) purge keg and transfer the beer. Seal keg with CO2 and let it sit at room temperature for 10 days or so.
When you have your kegerator set up chill the keg foe 36-48 hours and it should be ready to serve..
I thought conditioning with bottling sugar increased sediment?
 
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JLeather

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Here is my 0.02 on this thread. I fill my kegs with Saniclean (just like SarSan but it doesn't foam up like StarSan does) and push it out with CO2. When I fill the kegs with sanitizer, I syphon it out of the storage container (I only mix new sanitizer about once a month or more frequently if the pH of it starts to rise) into the beer out keg plug to minimize splashing to minimize any O2 pickup. When my sanitizing cycle is complete, I push the Saniclean out of the keg either into a second keg that needs to be sanitized (I normally do 10 gallon batches) or back into the storage container. Once the keg is empty, I jiggle the keg to push out any remaining sanitizer on the bottom and get 99.9% of it out of the keg.

With regard to opening the keg after sanitizing it, I sometimes have to open the keg to fine the beer with gelatin if the residual yeast in suspension is being stubborn about dropping out at cold temperatures. When this is necessary, I simply attach the CO2 to the gas in plug and turn it on with maybe a couple PSI to keep a CO2 blanket on the beer while fining it. This will significantly reduce any O2 pickup as there will be a positive pressure of CO2 inside the keg. Is it 100% effective, no, but nothing is unless you place the keg in a total vacuum. So you do the best you can with what you have to work with.

Remember, regardless of how you do things, there will always be some O2 disolved in the sanitizer. It is inevitable so do your best to keep it as low as possible with your sanitizing and transferring techniques
That's a good idea about leaving a small CO2 flow on when opening the keg. I will probably try that when dry-hopping in my corny keg fermenters too.
 

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I use 2.5 gal kegs cause that's what fits in my fridge and I'm using a picnic tap. Personally, I dismantle the keg parts and then wash and sanitize keg, parts, hoses and everything. Put it back together with a little keg lube on the o-rings. Add more starsan and then add a little pressure and push it out thru the tap line until it blows out C02. Open it up again and turn it upside down for a bit to drain. I try not to drink sanitizer if I can help it. Flip it upright and fill it with beer with as little disturbance as possible. Seal it up again. Pressurize with C02 and purge a few times. Add C02 to pressure necessary for vol desired at room temp and shelve it. When you get ready to chill a week or so later, purge it and then pressurize to serving pressure and stick it in the fridge. You can keep the tank connected to maintain serving pressure if you have the room. I don't have room, so I use one of those cartridge deals to add pressure when it slows down. You may have to play with it a bit to get it tweaked. I'm no scientist, but what little air exposure you get when you fill the keg doesn't hurt anything I can detect. You can carb cold and reduce the pressure required. You can roll it around on its side to increase contact area and carb it faster.
 

LittleRiver

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...air exposure you get when you fill the keg doesn't hurt anything I can detect...
Closed transfers really do make a difference. I noticed a distinct difference in the longevity of flavors and aromas once I started doing them. There's no way I would go back to open transfers.
 

day_trippr

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Imo it makes an enormous difference wrt longevity of character and should be a "must do" on everyone's list.
A few years ago I was already doing CO2-pushed racking to kegs through the Out dip tube nice and quiet but my first neipa still lost its luster well before the keg had kicked. Then I did my first Stan San purge and the difference was astounding. At the end of 2019 I was still enjoying the hell out of a keg that was filled in July, and now have no concerns about the second keg of my 10 gallon batches suffering...

Cheers!
 

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I think it’s cool that you guys are able to develop methods to transfer between vessels without air exposure. It‘s impressive. I don’t see me going to those lengths in a home brewing scenario. I’m just too satisfied with what I can create as-is. I’d also have to have a lot more dedicated space to go there.
 
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Jag75

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I think it’s cool that you guys are able to develop methods to transfer between vessels without air exposure. It‘s impressive. I don’t see me going to those lengths in a home brewing scenario. I’m just too satisfied with what I can create as-is. I’d have to have a lot more dedicated space to go there.
Give it time , that's what I said too lol.
 

day_trippr

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Clearly there is a time factor involved here. For someone knocking off the fruits of their labor in a week, I guess I wouldn't burn the CO2.
But, seriously, anything more than that and there will be changes...

Cheers!
 

AzOr

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I cut all my dip tubes by an inch or so.

The way I deal w the inch or so starsan in bottom is to hold keg upside down and pull the pressure relief valve. It’ll all come out.
 

day_trippr

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Take the lid off the keg. Turn it upside down. Look where the PRV opening is.
Fill the lid with water until it reaches that opening.

Given the shortened Out dip tube, a more effective way is to shorten the gas dip tube to a 1/2" or less (it only needs to be long enough to hold the O-ring). Then tilt the inverted keg towards the gas tip tube.

fwiw, a full length Out dip tube, properly centered in the keg well, will truly leave a teaspoon or less fluid behind...

Cheers!
 

doug293cz

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Take the lid off the keg. Turn it upside down. Look where the PRV opening is.
Fill the lid with water until it reaches that opening.

Given the shortened Out dip tube, a more effective way is to shorten the gas dip tube to a 1/2" or less (it only needs to be long enough to hold the O-ring). Then tilt the inverted keg towards the gas tip tube.

fwiw, a full length Out dip tube, properly centered in the keg well, will truly leave a teaspoon or less fluid behind...

Cheers!
I've measured the volume that the inverted lid will hold with the PRV removed at 3 fl oz. This would be more StarSan than would be left after pushing out thru a regular length dip tube.

Brew on :mug:
 

LittleRiver

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...transfer between vessels without air exposure. It‘s impressive. I don’t see me going to those lengths...
I think you're over estimating the difficulty.

Instead of putting your airlock on top of your fermenter, put a tube going to the beer post of your keg. Put the airlock on the gas post of the keg. Fermentation will fully purge the keg.

To transfer, move the tube coming from the fermenter to the gas post of the keg, and connect a tube from your fermenter drain to the beer post of the keg.

IMG_20190327_095328_324.jpg IMG_20200127_151310373_HDR.jpg
 

Snuffy

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I think you're over estimating the difficulty.

Instead of putting your airlock on top of your fermenter, put a tube going to the beer post of your keg. Put the airlock on the gas post of the keg. Fermentation will fully purge the keg.

To transfer, move the tube coming from the fermenter to the gas post of the keg, and connect a tube from your fermenter drain to the beer post of the keg.

View attachment 689630 View attachment 689631
That IS simpler than I imagined. I will look into what I need for that setup. It's about time I built a temp controlled fermentation chamber as well.
 
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JLeather

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Well after spending most of a Saturday scrubbing, rebuilding, and pressure-testing kegs I kegged my first 5 gallon batch. This was in a bucket fermenter with no spout so a totally closed transfer wasn't possible. As a compromise I starsan-purged a keg and then ran an autosiphon in through the beer post. Next batch I brew I'm fermenting in a 10 gallon corny and I'm going to purge a 5 gallon keg via the fermentation gasses and then do a real closed transfer. I've rigged up a tee with a picnic tap between a pair of beer post connectors so I can run off a little until it clears and then hook up to the purged keg.

IMG_20200718_114517191_HDR.jpg


After ~18 hours I haven't lost any gas on the bottle pressure gauge, so I think I'm in good shape.

IMG_20200719_090826833.jpg
 
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JLeather

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Got another beer brewing, the PTE clone, and being an IPA I really want to get the oxygen exposure down to a minimum. I'm fermenting it in a 10 gallon corny and purging a keg for it with the off-gas. I will need to dry-hop but I imagine I can just open the lid for a second to drop in the hop bag and purge the headspace after? I figure I'll use a picnic tap to pull some beer til it clears a little and then transfer beer post-to-beer post into the serving keg?

IMG_20200723_030747652.jpg
 

IslandLizard

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I will need to dry-hop but I imagine I can just open the lid for a second to drop in the hop bag and purge the headspace after?
You could stream CO2 in through the gas post while lifting the lid and dropping the bag with dry hops in. The counterstream of CO2 should prevent much air coming in. That's what I do when keg hopping. Then purge the headspace well.
I reckon you have a significantly larger headspace in that 10 gallon keg, so purging is much less efficient. Therefore, try keeping as much air out as possible becomes paramount.

I also squeeze any air out of the bag, and roll up whatever loose bag material is left, to reduce trapped air. Before dropping the bag into the keg, I've CO2-flushed a lidded plastic container into which I placed the squeezed bag of hops, again to purge/flush as much air out as possible.

Are you weighing down your bag and suspending it?
 
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JLeather

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I usually weight the bag with stainless ball bearings and let it sink. I don't have anything to tie it to in the keg. That's a good idea about the counterflow of CO2.
 

IslandLizard

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I usually weight the bag with stainless ball bearings and let it sink. I don't have anything to tie it to in the keg. That's a good idea about the counterflow of CO2.
Periodically swirling/rocking the keg helps speed up hop extraction and dispersion.

Some brewers suspend a bag from a tab welded underneath the lid. Or tying a piece of unflavored dental floss around the top of the bag and route it through lid seal. It's thin enough to prevent leaks.

I'm convinced hanging bags is restrictive to beer flowing in and out freely, especially with increasing weigh downs. Ideally it should be just suspended so beer can flow through freely, assisted by some periodic agitation.

When keg hopping, I roll the keg periodically.
 
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